Jan 20, 2022 9:16 AM
esther and ivy meet the Stage
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"I don't mean your literal name, I mean like... your motivations or whatever."

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"My friends are so cute, passionate, and diligent. I feel like I need to protect them all!"

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"... I guess I can relate to that, but I've never done much for you. Why do this for me? We've never even seriously talked."

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"Oh, you'll play your part, don't you worry!" She gives him a condescending little pat on the head with the most sincere face that he's seen in a while (he has been hanging out with Esther).

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"Could you just let me in to anything about what your plan is?"

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"I'd rather not. Read the script!"

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He looks down at the script in his hands.

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It's a section of plain paper script containing the direction to a play called Starlight. This copy has been helpfully marked up in sparkly gold gel pen with his directions underlined and useful tips about the Stage.

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That's useful, he supposes, though he's a little annoyed at having his script annotated for him. Nana appears to mean well, but she also appears to be everywhere. He would like to work on one normal production at this school, free of bullies or strange girls who make muffins. 

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The script does indicate that he needs to be on spot. No time for dallying!

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Sigh. He hurries up to spot and settles himself behind the heavy spotlight, placing his hands just before the spot where the hot barrel of the light will burn him.

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Unfortunately, this light has been on a long time. The whole thing's pretty hot.

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He snatches his hands away. Shit, he needs gloves. He goes to get them from his back pocket.

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There aren't any gloves there. Move the light. Make your cue.

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He does. The light burns but he bites his lip and handles it.

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Good. She sprints onto the stage as the music swells around her. "Announcing! The Revue of Pride!"

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He leans forward, interested.

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Backstage, Esther drifts as if in a dream. She hears the music in the distance and Nana's voice, and then...

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She finds herself stepping out of the shadows as her pockets glow with stolen glory. The light swirls around her, walking forward as machines activate. They hiss and spit steam at her and she finds herself naked, clothed only in the glitter caught up in her gravity. Hands caress her all over, clothing her in costume, real costume for the first time in far too long, this is really happening she's going to be an actor again! Her makeup flatters her face, far to bold for the soft lights of everyday experience. But on this stage where the intensity of everything is amped high and the violins sing her song, Esther knows that it's just right.

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She steps out into a spotlight, held by one of the many class-Bers that she's already forgetting the names of. Her mask glitters gold, her sword cruel and curved. Every fiber of her being, every action she's taken, every lie that she's told: they've all led up to this moment.

"Esther Lark, Class B. I will claim my destiny!"

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Shit. That's S. He's frozen for a second, caught between the urge to bring her down and to do his duty. 

He chooses duty. She'll be put in her place without his intervention anyway.

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She feels like she's in a dream (well, even more than the usual for being so close to the Stage). Lights swivel in slow motion and Nana appears, backlit, standing between her and her adoring fans the audience.

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Nana stands silently for a moment, and then: "No, you should not see the view from the top of that tower."

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"I should be able to see the view from the top of that tower." She moves fluidly, her sword arm feeling light as if she holds a prop sword. She doesn't of course, she can hear the bloodthirsty whine as it splits the air. She's moving towards the opening with purpose, with drive, she has to get there first.

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She leaps far, far too high as the hidden fly crew works feverishly to maneuver her to stand at the top of the stairs, smiling down at - no, past her, somewhere out into the crowd.

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